Q: What is the teacher-student ratio?
A: Our student-teacher ratio is a common question we are asked. In order to encourage as much independence as possible in our students, yet also provide them the right amount of support for success, our ratio varies based on the activity and students involved. Our therapeutic school ratio fluctuates from 1:1 to 1:5 throughout the day, our social schooling program generally remains between 1:2 and 1:6 throughout the day. For our preschool and K-2 programs the ratio fluctuates between 1:2 – 1:6 throughout the day. Larger ratios occur only during lunch, recess, and snack periods.
Q: Are you licensed or accredited?
A: Yes, we are licensed through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and we are accredited by AdvancEd.
Q: What curriculum do you use?
A: We individualize our instruction for our students, and therefore do not prescribe to any singular curriculum. We look at the Common Core, VB-MAPP, ABLLS, TEKS, AMPFS, SCERTS, Social Thinking, Read Naturally, Great Leaps, and other curricula as a guide for where we want our students to be going, as well as a typical progression through skills. We find the materials and curricula that best fit each individual student.
Q: What grades and ages do you serve?
A: We currently serve children ages 2-16 however, we plan to continue to grow with your students through age 21 or until the child graduations and/or services are no longer needed. We have private school programs for preschool (ages 2-4) and K-2 (ages 5-8), for those who are looking for small ratios and hands-on individualized curriculum.
Q: Do students have to have an autism diagnosis to attend your school?
A: Students do not have to have an autism diagnosis in order to attend our school. We serve children with various learning differences as well as students without learning differences. Due to small ratios and individualized curriculums, we are able to meet any student at their current needs and help advance them in their achievements.
Q: How do you determine what class a student is in?
A: We do not separate our children by grade level, but instead by what skills they are learning. Children are generally in classes based on the social skills they are learning. Students are often in different groups for academic instruction. We believe that we need to meet each student where they are at with academics and build upon their current knowledge.
Q: What are your teachers’ qualifications?
A: All lead staff have Bachelor’s Degrees in related fields such as child development, Health Services, Psychology, or Education. Many staff also hold Masters degrees in related fields of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Psychology, Child Development, or Counseling. The school also currently employs three Board Certified Behavior Analysts.
Q: What clinical services are offered?
A: Group Speech and Occupational Therapy and one to one ABA services are currently provided in our Therapeutic School Program. Private Speech and Occupational Therapy services can also be arranged on a case by case basis. Group Social Skills instruction is also provided in all programs.
Q: Do you accept insurance for clinic services?
A: Yes, however, because of our operating costs, we require that parents pay their full tuition each month. We can reimburse families for clinical services once insurance payment is received.
Q: How are clinical services integrated into my child’s school day?
A: Each student in our Therapeutic School program is provided two 30-minute group speech sessions and two 30-minute group occupational therapy sessions per week, between 6-10 hours of one to one ABA therapy, and 30-90 minutes per day of social skills training. Students in other programs who also need clinical services are addressed on a case-by-case basis in order to fit the student’s schedule.
Q: What will my insurance cover?
A: Every insurance plan is different. For students who submit an application, our insurance representative can call and ask this information for you. If you would like to understand your benefits, key things to ask your insurance provider are:
Is this a full insurance plan or administrative benefits only (self-funded)? Are benefits different for in-network versus out-of-network providers? What is my deductible?
Do I have an out-of-pocket maximum? Do I have co-pays (a set fee per visit) or co-insurance (a % of service fees)? After I meet my out-of-pocket maximum, do I still have to pay co-pays/co-insurance? Is pre-authorization required? Is there a session limit? Always make sure you record who you spoke with and what time.
Q: Do you work with students who have tantrums, aggression, or other challenging behaviors?
A: Yes, we work with students with all ranges of tantrums, aggression, and/or challenging behavior and do not deny children services based on these factors. Most of our students have some type of behavior plan, for behaviors ranging from waiting to aggression.
Q: Do you provide lunch?
A: Due to a variety of diets, we do not provide lunch at school. We ask that each child brings their own lunch and necessary snacks from home each day. The school will only give food to your child that has been sent from home or approved by you.
Q: What if my child is a picky eater?
A: All food provided during the day will be sent from home, so this allows you to send food that your child prefers or that you would like us to help your child try throughout the day. Learning to consume new foods or increase the amount of food a child eats are common goals that we can work on with a child in ABA.
Q: What is the tuition?
A. Our tuition is determined each year by our total costs minus our fundraising income. There is also different tuition for different programs. As of 2016, our tuition ranges from $620-3,000 per month.
Q: Are there any other fees?
A: Yes. When students are enrolled, there is a one-time admission fee that covers the expenses of reviewing a students materials and history, initial observations, assessments, and planning; as well as a general supply fee, paid annually.
Q: What if I want in-home ABA or other therapy?
A: There are a number of agencies in the Austin Area that provide in-home ABA services, and some that will provide in-home speech or occupational therapy. We have links to some local providers on our resources page, or you can call us for a recommendation. We also highly recommend that all parents in the Austin area who have a child with Autism join the Autism Society of Greater Austin’s yahoo chat group. This is an excellent forum where parents can find local providers who are autism-friendly.
Q: Do you have peer models at your school?
A: Our pre-school and kindergarten classroom is inclusive and has a number of neurotypical students who play with and practice skills with our students who have an autism diagnosis. The teachers or therapists will guide interactions as needed to maximize the social skills for all of our students.